For over four years Essential Planning Ltd, through Tanya Burdett, provided specialist environmental policy advice on implementation of EU and UK legislation relating to environmental assessment, risk management, and spatial planning in England and throughout the UK to the then Department for Communities and Local Government (now Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government).

This included:

  • Directive 2001/42/EC "on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment" - the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive

  • Sustainability Appraisal as required by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act, Planning Act 2008, and associated regulations

  • Directive 85/337/EEC on “the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment”, as amended by Directive 97/11/EC and 2003/35/EC - Environmental Impact Assessment Directive

  • Directive 96/82/EC on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances - the Seveso II Directive, and the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999 (COMAH)

  • Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, and the Public Participation Directive 2003/35/EC

  • Other appraisal techniques including:

    • equalities impact assessment,

    • health assessment and

    • rural proofing

This advice also included participation in discussions on implementation of the EIA and SEA Directives and Sustainability Appraisal in the UK, in EU, UNECE and OECD fora, and development of related guidance.


Tanya's input resulted directly in development and publication of the following:

  • Guidance on the SEA Directive for the UK, which has been heavily referenced throughout the EU

  • Guidance on SEA and SA for spatial plans in England, initially in 2004, and updated following reforms set out in the Planning Act 2008, in conjunction with the Planning Advisory Service

  • Guidance on Habitats Regulations Assessment as required by the Habitats Directive

  • Research on the effectiveness and efficiency of undertaking SEA, particularly in England and in the spatial planning sector, and Spatial Plans in Practice research to monitor progress on implementation of the first few years of planning reform in 2004

  • An approved Eco-towns Planning Policy Statement, based on guidance provided on sustainability appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment

  • Consultation drafts of National Policy Statements in the energy and transport sectors, based on facilitation and guidance on the approach to be taken to the appraisal of sustainability, Habitats Regulations Assessment and various other appraisals covering equalities and health issues, amongst other things

  • Various other planning policy documents where relevant to environmental assessment, risk and hazard management and planning

  • Implementation reports for the Aarhus Convention and Public Participation Directive.



Company registered in England and Wales, Reg No 5023852